Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has praised Jurgen Klopp and his achievements with Borussia Dortmund, ahead of their quarter-final clash.

Tonight’s clash between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund is a rematch of last year’s semi-final clash between these two sides, which the German club won 4-3 on aggregate on their way to the final. It was a high voltage encounter last season where two fantastic sides provided entertainment with some fine attacking displays over two legs and Carlo Ancelotti, who was the manager of PSG back then, found it to be intriguing.

“I watched the games and they were very strange because in the first leg Real Madrid controlled things well in the first half, but then what happened in the second half was just incredible. After that a comeback was always going to be difficult because it isn’t easy to score three goals against a team like Borussia. That’s the Champions League for you.” – The Real Madrid manager said.

But a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then and both these sides have encountered contrasting seasons so far. Borussia Dortmund have failed to match Bayern’s domination in the Bundesliga and are struggling to hold on to their second place in the table. Injuries to key players over the course of the season have crippled Jurgen Klopps’s side and they will also be missing Robert Lewandowski due to suspension in this match. But despite these handicaps, Ancelotti believes Dortmund are still a force to reckon with and has expressed his admiration for Jurgen Klopp and what he has achieved so far.

“Dortmund are missing Robert Lewandowski which is an important loss for them. They are a compact team and have excellent transition play [from defence to attack]. They have injuries but that won’t change their style. I admire their coach a lot. He has done a fantastic job there. He got to the final of the Champions League last season which is a big achievement for any coach.” – Ancelotti added.

The former Italian international also expressed his excitement ahead of this big game and how important it is for the fans and players alike. He feels that his players are motivated and up for the occasion.

“The atmosphere around the team is good. We are looking forward to this match and will be 100% up for it. We are motivated and everyone knows how important this competition is for us. When I talk about excitement I don’t just mean the players and the club, but also the excitement felt by all of Real Madrid’s fans. Tomorrow the atmosphere will be very good and that will help us.” – He said in his pre-match press conference.

Carlo Ancelotti will also be up against one of his former players, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who was at AC Milan during Ancelotti’s stint at the Italian club. Ancelotti is well aware of his capabilities as a footballer and insists he can step up for Dortmund in the absence of Lewandowski.

“I know him well because he was part of the Milan youth academy when I was there. He’s enjoying a fantastic football career. He was very good last year. He is dangerous, fast and attacks well from deep. In the absence of Lewandowski, he can do a good job of replacing him.” – Ancelotti insisted.